All fashion roads lead to Paris. On Saturday, October 13th, Parisian streets was gridlocked with several fired-up crowds. Nearly 15,000 people marched demanding action in response to the latest UN climate change report. Nearby, thousands more protested police brutality following the exoneration of French officers in the death of a young black man. Meanwhile, the annual Existrans manifestation in support of transgender and intersex people drew its largest audience. Paris had important things to say, and so did the jury of the 10th anniversary edition of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival.
Everyone was late getting to the deliberation after being stuck in traffic resulting from protest congestion. At the same time, what the audience saw at the Club de L’Etoile cinema and what was happening in the streets outside was in perfect alignment. Fashion film had evolved from mere editorial fantasy to a powerful tool of democracy.
#ASVOFF is a unique global platform launched and curated by the iconic Diane Pernet. From Bulgaria to Taiwan, the geography of this year’s entries reflected a growing market interest in fashion film festivals worldwide. Pernet is credited with supporting early the photo-to-film transition for such fashion media mavericks as Nick Knight and Steven Klein. This time the screen was equally shared by legendary photographers Ellen von Unwerth with The Ellen Horror Picture Show and Glen Luchford with Gucci Dans les Rues as well as Academy Award winning director Steve McQueen with Bleu de Chanel and young artists like Francis Wintour (no relation to Anna Wintour) with autobiographical short I Don’t Drink Milk alongside many first-time filmmakers. Fashion is for all and by everyone. “There are so many entries that push the boundaries of what fashion film means, far beyond the cliché. Not just clothes filmed with a light narrative but conceptual pieces that question current affairs. I am always open to expand our thinking on fashion and what it represents in a modern world,” noted Diane Pernet.
Opening night screening of Myth(O)Maniac by Gianluca Matarrese drew gasps of recognition, bittersweet laughs and enthusiastic applause for its unflinching portrayal of the underside of being a fashion influencer. Recent headlines highlighted Instagram stars falling into real debt as advertisers become more vigilant about follower fraud. ASVOFF kept the conversations real. Director Elisha Smith-Leverock was back in competition after winning the ASVOFF Grand Prix in 2011 with a film about the female bodybuilder Kizzy Vaines. Her new project Miss Black Germany took home the Best Documentary prize for its celebration of contestants who challenge the westernized beauty ideals. “Maybe previously, fashion has been quite exclusive, but I like the new demographic of voices that are coming through now,” notes Smith-Leverock. “I love how Diane looks at things from a different angle, because I think there’s so much more depth to [fashion film] than people give it credit for, and that’s what I like about it”.
The jury, presided by the 21st century style icon Rossy de Palma and the one and only Jean-Paul Gaultier, awarded the Grand Prize (in partnership with Persol) to Grisha’s Guide to Kiev by Jordan Blady. Inspired by the creativity and social awareness of the Ukrainian fashion scene, the first-time filmmaker collaborated with popular designer Ksenia Schneider and up-and-coming model Grisha Petrenko on a spirited whirlwind tour of Ukraine’s capital. “I have so much respect for this festival. I’ve wanted to be in it for a long time. It is so humbling to finally be here”, said Blady. Given geopolitical turmoil to the east of European Union borders, the rebellious spirit of the times in Kiev and Paris feel very similar this fall.
In total, fourteen award categories span the creative spectrum from traditional staples like acting or editing to student spotlights and Global Champions initiative. For a full list of winners and future submission guidelines, check out the ASVOFF website. The entire program will be screened again at the Palazzo Altemps in Rome, Italy on October 20-22 under the patronage of BVLGARI. I guess, all roads still lead to Rome after all! As for the next decade of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival, its founder Diane Pernet is clear that this anniversary only marks the beginning of fabulous things to come. Watch this space!
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